Insect Cell Bioreactors

Insect cells could also be potential bioreactors and have been cultivated in almost all operation modes of fermentation. The baculovirus insect cell system has been used for the production of high value heterologous proteins, which form an assembly of regular structures called viruslike particles (VLPs) (217). The advantages of the VLPs are that they possess highly immunogenic properties, which have the potential to be used as vaccines. The operation of insect cell expression system is normally by fed batch mode because the baculovirus infection imposes a high metabolic burden on the infected cells thereby inducing cell lysis for the production of VLPs. The significant interdependent variables in the operation of the baculovirus insect system are: multiplication of infection, cell concentration at infection, and harvest time. The scale up of insect cell system to a 25L bioreactor involves consideration of the capability to supply enough oxygen to maintain the high specific oxygen uptake rate during cell infection through sparging of air or O2 during the cultivation. The cell susceptibility during sparging occurs due to breakage of the bubbles, which can be avoided by the addition of Pluronic F-68. Porcine parvovirus (PPV) is an ethiological agent, which causes reproductive failure of pigs. Using the baculovirus insect cell expression system, production of recombinant self assembling VLPs composed of PPV VP2 capsid protein, which are shown to be highly immunogenic and confer full protection against the disease, was achieved.

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